I've been very interested in Peter Ford's response to my question about self-conscious blogging. Quite apart from the philosophical approach to the subject, there came the realisation of a growing circle of acquaintance, the chance to share ideas with strangers who only know me from what I write. So perhaps it is only right that I should think carefully before posting - not every time, perhaps, but regularly enough to remind myself of the responsibility of the writer to his/her audience.
Philip Larkin, a wonderful poet but a pretty miserable man by my standards, apparently wrote the famous line "what will remain of us is love" (at the end of An Arundel Tomb) *because* he was by that time famous; on the manuscript he scribbled words to the effect that love doesn't last for ever just because a couple of statues are holding hands. So the poem, brilliantly crafted and memorable though it may be, is not actually true to his own feelings.
In my own writing, I have found that it often comes about that a poem on a subject I *really* wanted to write about gets stuck - and the line/image/idea which unsticks it and which sounds much better than the laboriously crafted section which was what I actually *meant* is not true - gives a false impression, misleads the reader, means that the authorial voice is not my voice, but one put on for the occasion.
So: does this matter? Is it better to be truthful or to succumb to temptation? to be unable to agree with the meaning which my reader may take from what I write?
Incidentally, I also have problems over reading literature in translation. At the moment this plays havoc with my participation in Bible study - the text, and my ignorance about source material, keep getting in the way.
But that's another story .....